“After they had preached the gospel …and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.’”- Acts 14:21-22
The disciples went through a lot trying to share the good news of Jesus to the people they were called to serve. They did great works among them and many people came to know and understand the gospel of Christ. Jesus called them to follow Him and trust His teaching. When He left, He gave them a purpose. Their mission was simple in that they had to go, make disciples, teach them what Jesus taught, and baptize them (Matthew 28 19-20). They did it quite well.
However, in Acts 14 we see people getting upset due to their disagreement with what they were teaching. Lives were being changed, people were receiving hope for their future, but for some reason people were against the disciples and their message. So, we find these Jewish leaders working against the disciples and causing dissension amongst the people. The community was separated and potential violence was coming the way of those teaching the truth of Jesus Christ.
In all this drama and ridicule the disciples still viewed it as kingdom living. In verse 22 we see the words “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” and this was accepted by those who chose to follow Jesus. Living for the kingdom is not going to be easy. Jesus never said it would be, but He said it would be worth it as long as we followed His lead. There were times where He told His followers that they may have to go against their family, they may have to die, they will face persecution, and so on, but they continued next to Him. This is the life they chose. They knew what was coming their way. They were living for the kingdom.
How are we living today? Are we living in such a way that we accept our tribulations or struggles as the gateway to the kingdom of God? Or do we expect easiness of life? When we face hardships of any kind we must look at it as a time of maturation and growth in order to step closer to the throne of Jesus. This is what it means to have kingdom living. Kingdom living is an attitude. It is our focus. It must be the way we embrace the message of Jesus and as a disciple of Christ I must follow His lead.
Jesus lived for the kingdom of heaven to be ushered in. He was the living, breathing, walking kingdom of God here on earth. He showed us how to live for the past, present, and time to come. He helped guide the people in the realization of His Father in heaven and His desire to see His creation back with Him. That is the kingdom message. Are we living for the kingdom? Do people see that we know of something bigger and better yet to come? Do we want others in on the good news? If so, then we need to live for the kingdom of God, recognizing hardship will come, but the kingdom of heaven is near and we will be there together…if we truly follow Jesus there.